Heathers Tour at New Wimbledon
Heathers musical is based on the film of the same name with book, music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy. It tells of 3 friends all called Heather who run Westerberg High School and Veronica Sawyer who is given a chance to become one of them. Along the way it becomes clear that she has to sacrifice her old friends and moral decency to fit in. Veronica also falls for new boy at school, J.D who has a mysterious past and he sets about trying to convince Veronica about the best way to take down the Heathers and their cohorts.
The musical, although based on a 1980’s film remains entirely relevant today as it deals with friendship, bullying, body image and teen suicide and it has developed a cult following. A quick glimpse around the auditorium last night you would have seen numerous fans sporting the iconic red, yellow, green and blue blazers and even the occasional long black coat.
Heathers had a successful run but at the Other Palace as well as in the West End and is now in the final week of its tour. Therefore plenty of iconic actresses have wore the recognisable blazers and I was keen to see what this cast would bring to the roles. Jenna Innes plays Veronica Sawyer and brings more emotional maturity to the part than I have seen before which made for a really enjoyable interpretation. Veronica is a huge sing but Innes made her huge numbers sound effortless.
Playing the 3 Heathers were Verity Thompson as the Mythic Bitch Heather Chandler, Elise Zavou as Heather Duke and Billie Bowman as Heather McNamara. They worked brilliantly as a trio and their relationship was clear from the first few moments they appeared on stage. It was easy to believe that Thompson as Heather Chandler ruled the school as whilst she let rip in numbers like Candy Store her demeanour meant that you could not take your eyes off her whenever she was on stage. Jacob Fowler returns to the role of JD and whilst the role is an incredibly dark one he managed to bring moments of levity to it, helping get the audience on side and ensuring that the audience understood the appeal he had to Veronica whilst enjoying his murderous tendencies far too much and striking the balance between these 2 ides of the role perfectly.
The set itself is relatively simple but this mean that the need for drawn out scene changes were avoided and instead the high energy approach could be sustained throughout the show. Equally clever props and staging of numbers ensures that the stage never feels empty, in particular I enjoyed the use of lunch trays in ‘Beautiful’ and the books in ‘Shine A Light.’ Ben Cracknell’s lighting design enhanced the show further and particular highlights was the use of very distinct colours to further light the Heathers.
As the tour draws to a close it would be remiss not to reflect on the number of young people Heathers has enticed into the theatre and how huge the fandom has become. This cast and tour have ensured that this show is as electric now as it was when it first appeared on stage at The Other Palace. If by chance you have missed all of your opportunities to see Heathers until now then I implore you to get yourself to Wimbledon to fully understand just what the hype has been about!
Heathers is running at New Wimbledon Theatre until 28th October when the tour ends. You can find out more and book tickets here.